The Real Antidote to Bullying Is Private Education

Monday, August 11, 2014

Video of a thuggish rant (transcribed at the next link) by a union boss has gone viral. Said union boss, Michael Mulgrew, who heads a teachers' union in New York City is "defending" the "Common Core" curriculum mandated for government schools by the federal government. I found the following part of psychologist Michael Hurd's analysis particularly worthwhile:

Consider the chronic emotional state of someone entrenched in this public school monopoly, particularly as a union official. They're angry, and they're frightened. On some level, some better part of them (if it exists) knows that they haven't earned their status, power or income. They're only garnering it because the government guarantees it by funding and legislation. When people criticize or question them, it reminds them that they haven't really and honestly earned what they've got. While not all public school teachers or even union officials are necessarily like this, the fact remains that they hold their jobs as a protected monopoly. As a system or enterprise of education, they're never going out of business. Year after year, the worse they perform, or the more questionable their practices (as in imposing political views via Common Core), the more money and power they attain.
This thuggishnes -- part of the nature of government schools as Hurd explains -- caused me to recall that one of the biggest current fads among such "educators" is, ironically, a crusade against bullying.

Out of curiosity, I decided to see what thought, if any, Mulgrew has given to the subject. As it turns out, he has written "Teaching to End Bullying" a short essay (appearing in a book on the "bullying crisis") about his union's efforts in this crusade. Amid an embarrassing amount of self-promotion, I gleaned the following insight, which he seems to have forgotten, assuming he actually wrote it:
The kids who are bullies ... don't see the other child as a real person; they see only their own anger and frustration. But once they get to know the other kid and see him or her as a person, they start to empathize.
This plainly goes for the adults who are bullies, although many of them have developed enough guile to hide such an attitude from others. I would add that such budding empathy would depend on there being, as Hurd put it, a "better part" in the nature of the bully (more likely in a child than in an adult), not to mention a considerable, sincere effort to walk a mile in the victim's moccasins, as the old saying goes. 

I don't expect Mulgrew the thug to do this in regard to the parents he is threatening. He will not take even a moment any time soon to consider how or why a parent might become "cold, twisted, [and] sick" come to question the Common Core curricululum. Nor do I expect this person to do the honorable thing. That is, Michael Mulgrew should apologize for threatening the parents of the children he is supposed to be helping -- and resign from his union post and his profession at once.

More parents should question the whole notion of government-run schools, which restrict our choices about who will educate our children (and how), not to mention entrenching the likes of Michael Mulgrew. Only massive government coercion could cause so many people to entrust their own children to such a person. Parents will stand up to this -- or see their own children suffer the consequences -- sooner or later.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I agree. The real antidote is private education because of the very lack immunity to failure that pervades the public school model. Private schools that allowed bullying children to terrorize other students would soon find those other students removed from their care.

Mulgrew and his ilk are at once the symptom and the disease; the moral inversion that pervades the public schools today is one that allows the bully to skate and punishes the hapless victim who dares stand up to him. The very best one can hope for is that both bully and victim are punished equally. This is called "zero tolerance." The preceding two sentences should drip irony except that it isn't ironic; it is what happens in public schools today.

As Ayn Rand wrote;

Nothing can corrupt and disintegrate a culture or a man’s character as thoroughly as does the precept of moral agnosticism, the idea that one must never pass moral judgment on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything, that the good consists of never distinguishing good from evil.

It is obvious who profits and who loses by such a precept. It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men’s virtues and from condemning men’s vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you—whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?

This is the moral inversion that governs our schools today. One can almost sympathize with the child, cut off from any kind of justice at the hands of those who control his life, taking that "justice" into his own hands and wreaking vengeance on his tormentors.

I don't think that this is accidental or some "unintended" consequence of the Left's ideological monopoly in the educational system. The studied lack of justice that characterizes the policy of our educational institutions is designed to undercut the development of a self-confident individual, comfortable in his own autonomy. What the Left is seeking, and in great measure producing, are large numbers of people who either submit to authority or rebel against it; and that's a Win for them because they can use either variant to advance their cause. What they cannot and will not tolerate is the individual who passes judgement and demands justice in his dealings with his fellows, and expect the same of the institutions in his life. That much is made clear by the thuggish endorsement of Mulgrew etal. of the statist indoctrination program alias "Common Core."

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for your additional comments, which help better make this point.